Members of Unit 1 & Unit 5 Provide Historic Mandate in Joint Strike Vote

After one week at the polls, and following unanimous decisions at membership meetings to commence strike votes, members of both Unit 1 and Unit 5 have afforded strong strike mandates to CUPE 3902, which represents more than 8,000 education workers at the University of Toronto.

Unit 1: Representing students/postdocs employed as TAs, Course Instructors and in other academic capacities by UofT

Voting in record numbers, members of Unit 1 produced the largest number of “Yes” votes in the history of Canadian unionization of student/postdoc instructors.  Unit 1 members have been working without a renewed contract for more than 6 months.  After 16 weeks of negotiations with the employer (the University administration), agreement has been reached on a total of one union proposal.  Proposals developed by members for improved working conditions, fair and transparent hiring provisions, improved funding and benefits, and additional support for unfunded and equity-seeking members have not begun to be seriously addressed by the employer in this round of negotiations.  Adding a significant challenge this year, the employer continues to insist that the provincial Liberal government has imposed on them a “net-zero compensation increase” mandate, limiting their ability to provide routine funding, wage and benefit increases.   The results of the Unit 1 strike vote are as follows:

Ballots cast: 1723
Yes: 1556
No: 166
Spoiled: 1
Percentage: 90.3% voted yes

Unit 5: Representing internally funded Postdocs employed as researchers by the University of Toronto

In their first-ever strike vote, after approximately a year of negotiations for a fair first collective agreement, members of Unit 5 have provided a very strong mandate to their union representatives.  Last May, Postdocs voted overwhelmingly to not send a tentative agreement to a ratification vote, on the basis that it failed to address their core concerns.  Postdocs continue to seek a first collective agreement that is reflective of other unionized Postdoc contracts across Canada, and that respects the contributions made by Postdocs to the research mandate of the University of Toronto.  The results of the Unit 5 strike vote are as follows:

Ballots cast: 179
Yes: 145
No: 34
Spoiled: 0
Percentage: 81% voted yes

What’s next?

The Unit 1 Bargaining Team will resume talks with the employer on November 28.  The Unit 5 Bargaining Team will resume conciliation at the Ontario Labour Relations Board offices on December 10 and 15.  With the strong mandates provided by the members of both units, the Executive Committee and Bargaining Teams are hopeful that the employer will return to negotiations prepared to hear the Union as equals in achieving fair agreements.  We urge the employer to work with us to find solutions to the concerns raised by members, through their elected Bargaining Teams, over the past many months.

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Joint Health and Safety Committees

We are looking for members to sit on U of T’s Joint Health and Safety Committees as CUPE 3902 representatives. There are dozens of these committees across campus including those at UTM and UTSC.The University of Toronto is mandated by Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act to establish and maintain joint health and safety committees in the workplace. These committees consist of representatives of workers and management. By sitting on a committee you will help ensure a healthy and safe workplace for yourself and your fellow workers. No previous experience is necessary. The commitment is that of a couple of hours a month and all your time on the committee will be compensated at a rate of $42.05/hour. If you are interested please contact Alexander Ivovic, Internal Liaison Officer, at ilo@cupe3902.org. Be sure to indicate the Department(s) in which you do the majority of your work.